Fresh whole-belly clams, fried to crispy perfection, come with a choice of two sauces at Jason Santos’s modern take on a clam shack. All sauces are made in house. We’re big fans of the tarragon tartar sauce—the herb lends a gentle complexity without stepping too far away from the classic flavors. As is typical of a clam shack, the scene is really at the picnic tables outside, or in Adirondack chairs by the fire pit.
195 Pleasant St., Marblehead, 781-990-1739, bandbfish.com
With a recipe that has been unchanged for 65 years, the Village sticks to local clams, freshly dug from flats just up the street, and perfectly fried every time. Fans travel from all over to enjoy these big platters, so reserve in summer or you might be disappointed.
55 Main St., Essex, 978-768-6400, wedigclams.com